The superheroes of skincare serums are made with fewer fillers and more active ingredients than moisturizers or face creams which means you’ll get concentrated amounts of powerful anti aging serum like retinoids, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, ceramides, and peptides.
Great for dry, combination or oily skin, “Serums are great options since they absorb quickly and don’t feel greasy,” explains Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab chemist Danusia Wnek, making the lightweight formulas easy to add to your existing routine for extra anti-aging benefits. Serums are usually the second step in your skincare routine applied after cleansing but before moisturizer and sunscreen. Dispense a pea-size amount in the palm of your hand and gently pat it into skin.
What is an Anti Aging Serum?
Anti Aging serum (A serum) is a lightweight skincare product with a thin, watery consistency. Although they are not moisturizers, they can add extra moisture to the skin although they do not take the place of a moisturizing cream. Most serums are water-based but a few are oil based. Since the texture of a serum is thin and lightweight, it absorbs easily into the skin, making it an ideal delivery system for hard working ingredients. Most serums are multi-taskers, addressing more than one skin issue whether its wrinkles, dark spots, acne or oiliness. Because serums can address a multitude of issues, they are ideal for any type of skin and any age, whether you are in your 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond.
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What To Look for in an Anti-Aging Serum
The best anti-aging serums contain a cocktail of wrinkle fighting ingredients, including moisturizing hyaluronic acid, which holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water; retinols (a vitamin A derivative which helps encourage cell turnover, revealing fresher looking skin); antioxidants (which help fight against free radical damage) and peptides which help support skin structure. Look for ingredients like vitamin C, which help to brighten the face and minimize the look of dark spots as well as ferulic acid, which is often paired with vitamin C.
How to Apply A Serum
All serums (including ones aimed at wrinkles) should be applied after cleansing but before applying a cream or moisturizer. Serums should also be applied in a very specific way. They should not be rubbed into the face like a cream. Instead, dispense a dropper of serum into the palm of the hand and press or pat the liquid into the face. Give it some time to absorb before applying the next product. Some serums can be applied twice a day, but depending on your skin and what conditions you are trying to address, you may want to incorporate two serums into your routine; one for day and one for night.
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What Are The Best Anti-Aging Serums?
Molecular Anti-Inflammaging Serum
This unique, technologically advanced, serum homes in on a single molecule, HX-1, with potent anti-inflammatory properties. Layered under a moisturizer—or, if you wish, under another serum—it effectively reduces wrinkles and brightens skin with regular use.
This collagen-boosting, vitamin C serum has earned rave reviews from skincare lovers for its ability to reduce wrinkles and fine lines, while giving skin a lit-from-within glow. It's perfect for those with commitment issues: try out the mini .5 oz size before going all in on the larger, pricier bottle.
Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex
Lauder's recent upgrade to its iconic Advanced Night Repair boasts an enhanced capacity to quell free radicals and neutralize pollution, in addition to fortifying the skin's delicate barrier and addressing multiple early signs of aging.
Like most Tata Harper products, this collagen-boosting serum is a serious multitasker that addresses multiple signs of aging with every application. Boasting a highly concentrated and rejuvenating ingredient list that includes hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and natural neuropeptides, skin will look plump and hydrated, while also receiving some serious long term smoothing and softening benefits.
Holistic facialist Tammy Fender developed this serum to heal seriously chafed and upset skin that her clients exhibited due to sun damage, ski slopes, and laser treatments. A rich, silky blend of all-natural ingredients—including calming frankincense and rose oil—it feels nourishing the moment you put it on (and it smells amazing, too).
Smart Custom-Repair Serum 1oz
Clinique's Custom-Repair Serum is marketed as a one-size-fits-all product—which is to say, it's suitable for all ages, skin types, and ethnicities. The consistency is extremely lightweight, so it's a great option for those who feel uncomfortable layering a serum underneath their moisturizer and makeup.
LiftActiv Supreme Serum 10
Consider this classic a two-for-one. Yes, it boasts some serious hydrating capabilities thanks to fragmented hyaluronic acid, but the formulation also includes rhamnose, a naturally-derived plant sugar, that works to tighten skin and smooth wrinkles and lines within 10 days of use. You'll be kissing dryness and dullness goodbye in no time.
Resist Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum
Because of its super hydrating consistency—the product is almost like an oil-serum hybrid—users with dry skin absolutely swear by it.
Anti-Aging Rapid Response Booster
Ask anyone who works at La Prairie for the one product everyone at the company uses religiously, and they'll likely say "the booster." (I know, because I recently posed this exact question.) The brand's Anti-Aging Rapid Response Booster promises results in just 2 weeks of use, which is a claim I can personally vouch for—after using the serum nightly for a couple weeks, my smile lines have dramatically faded. It's an expensive habit, sure, but a little goes a long way.
Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum
This powerful plant-derived serum from Biossance is ideal for those looking for an alternative to retinol, or for anyone with sensitive skin. The lightweight formula is packed with squalane, hyaluronic acid, and bakuchiol, which reduces lines and wrinkles while increasing collagen production and elasticity. Plus, the serum has niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, to help restore dull skin.
Midnight Recovery Concentrate
Intended to be used before bedtime, this bestselling product has amassed a cult following over the years. Perhaps that's thanks to its intoxicating lavender scent, or the fact that it helps improve firmness and elasticity over time.
Youth Activating Melon Serum
If anyone has mastered the art of aging gracefully, it's Cindy Crawford. The model's skincare line, Meaningful Beauty, does not mess around with its anti-aging products, and their youth activating melon serum proves it. The technologically advanced formula has melon leaf stem cells, sea daffodil extract, and other plant extracts that work together to increase firmness and elasticity while protecting skin and evening out skin tone.
Rescue Serum (1 fl. oz.)
Celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas's Rescue Serum is a cult favorite for a reason: It absorbs instantly, and delivers serious brightening and firming over time, thanks to powerful (but non-irritating) vitamin C.
T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
Beauty editors, beauty bloggers, and pretty much anyone tangentially involved in the beauty industry have been obsessing over this newcomer brand since it launched (According to WWD, Drunk Elephant is one of the fastest growing skincare companies Sephora has ever seen.) So, it probably goes without saying that the brand's glycolic serum is now the darling of the serum world. While some find the AHA blend to be too intense for sensitive skin, most users appreciate the tingling-so-you-know-it-works sensation you have after using it.
Absolue Overnight Repairing Bi-Ampoule Concentrated Anti-Aging Serum
Should your skin need a fast fix, reach for Lancome's new Absolue Bi-Ampoule, which delivers an overnight hit of hyaluronic acid and ceramides, plus rose oil, antioxidants, and clarifying salicylic acid. Skin feels bouncier the next day, and as cell renewal is revved up, signs of aging diminish with regular use.
Active Botanical Serum
A cult-classic oil serum with over 22 botanical ingredients (including dandelion to tighten and evening primrose to balance and tone) that work together stimulate cell turnover, boost elasticity and brighten the skin, as well as oxygenate and reverse free radical damage. Skin will be calm, balanced, and protected with every use. Oh, and it smells heavenly.
Stress Rescue Super Serum with Niacinamide
Given that stress is one of the biggest culprits in premature aging, Dr. Dennis Gross crafted a serum to directly address the first signs of stress in the skin. Ingredient highlights include niacinamide, to support barrier function, ashwagandha to help skin adapt to stress and improve appearance of fine lines, and goji, which protects from oxidative stress and brightens.
Is Clinical Pro-heal Serum Advance+ - 30ml/1oz
If you suffer from redness and rosacea in addition to wrinkles and sun damage—or if you are hoping to speed recovery post-laser treatment—this supremely calming is the serum for you. Zinc sulfate reduces inflammation, kojic acid brightens and fights blemishes, and a host of antioxidants prevent future damage.
Double Serum Complete Age Control Concentrate
A dual action water and oil soluble serum whose ratio can be altered depending on the needs of your skin. Over 20 plant extracts and turmeric work together to target lines and wrinkles, even out skin tone, and boost radiance.
Bio Lifting Serum +
Sabotage sag with this effective, 86 percent natural, lifting serum. Powered by peptides and potent botanicals such as algae and raspberry stem cell extract, this fusion of science and nature sculpts contours, reduces wrinkles, and infuses skin with lasting hydration.
Abeille Royale Anti-Aging Double R Facial Serum
The buzz? Guerlain's golden, bee-powered serum features exclusive Royal Jelly, which feeds the skin with proteins, lipids, and vitamins, as well as pure honey sourced from the UNESCO nature preserve on France's Ouessant Island.
Iconic Reborn Radiant Serum, 30ml
Formulated specifically to supercharge skin's natural nighttime renewal process, this serum plumps, hydrates, softens and soothes skin while you sleep.
Pure Hyaluronic Serum
The sheer popularity of Pestle & Mortar speaks for itself: the serum sells out on a regular basis, and once had a waiting list of 35,000 people. With superpower ingredients like hyaluronic acid and panthenol, this formula hydrates and plumps skin while diminishing fine lines and wrinkles. And, it's fragrance-free for sensitive skin.
Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Facial Serum
In the world of reasonably-priced drugstore serums, this one reigns supreme. (I've honestly never seen a serum with as many Amazon reviews.) Dermatologists often recommend it as an anti-aging secret weapon, especially for those looking to reverse sun damage and smooth out their skin.